News Release: Ohio Restaurant Association announces positive sales trends in Buckeye state, robust restaurant growth and soaring expansion of food delivery


COLUMBUS, Ohio (June 19, 2018) – The Ohio Restaurant Association (ORA) today announced a broad range of data about the restaurant industry in the Buckeye state showing a robust business environment.

“In Ohio, sales are growing, the number of restaurants is expanding, and consumer use of food delivery is soaring,” said ORA President & CEO John Barker. “Certain segments are reporting strong sales growth, particularly restaurants that are most in-step with consumer trends. As consumers continue to eat out of home more often, restaurants that offer high-quality food, a unique selling proposition and A+ service are growing customer counts and winning market share. We are also seeing a greater use of technology among the most successful restaurants, including online ordering, loyalty programs and delivery.”

According the ORA’s survey of its members throughout Ohio, in cooperation with the Cleveland Research Company, first quarter 2018 same-store sales grew 2.8%. This was up from 2.4% in the fourth quarter of 2017. Traffic, or customer counts, generated 1.8% growth in the period.

“The growth rate is impressive,” said Barker. “We know traffic was up and many brands were able to raise prices as well. There is softness in some segments. For example, chain same-store sales nationally were flat in May, according to the latest index from Black Box Intelligence. For the year, national same-store sales at chains are up 0.3%.”

Other key data from the ORA survey and research from the National Restaurant Association:

ORA members are optimistic that sales trends will improve. They believe same-store sales in Ohio will grow 4.8% for the full year 2018.
Ohio added 382 establishments in 2017 and nearly 6,400 employees, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The number of restaurants in Ohio is now 22,514.
Delivery now accounts for 12% of total sales in Ohio and grew 11% in 2017. ORA members expect delivery to nearly double in 2018 to 22% of sales.
Labor rates are soaring and are expected grow 5% for the year. This compares to 3.8% growth in 2017 and 2.5% in 2016.

About the Ohio Restaurant Association​

For nearly 100 years, The Ohio Restaurant Association is the leading business trade association promoting, protecting and partnering with Ohio’s $20.9 billion restaurant and foodservice industry. The ORA represents the third-largest private sector employer in the state, including 22,000 locations and more than 575,000 employees, and helps members build customer loyalty, rewarding careers and financial success with a range of services and thought leadership. For more information, visit